|Xion Sieghart by OdysseyArt on DeviantArt|
I've been thinking more about shields these past couple days.
A class feature of Fighting Men and Clerics is that they are allowed to carry shields. That means they can get one additional point of Armor Class. But the opportunity cost for that is pretty steep. A shield weighs the same as 150 gold coins (give or take) and it ties up a hand that could hold a lantern, ten-foot pole, or something else useful. That's a lot to give up for one point of Armor Class!
So how do we make shields better? Better shields will help Fighting Men and Clerics keep up with Magic Users.
Shields can be splintered of course. How did we ever play without this rule? It's like getting several additional hit points when things are really hairy! This is the rule that makes shields really worth the weight of carrying them.
You can try a Shield Wall - two or more adjacent figures with shields grant each other an additional point of AC. Qualitatively you might give figures behind them (relative to the attackers) additional AC versus missile weapon attacks.
You can say Shields Ward Against Missiles - A shield grants +2 AC to +4 AC versus a missile attack from the appropriate facing (or from any facing if you want), or 50%of missile attack hits will impact the shield harmlessly instead of doing Hit Point damage.
Which rules, if any, make sense for you in your game?